What is a “Trunzu di Aci” and why you should taste it



When the people of Catania want to needle and bother the inhabitants of the nearby baroque town of Acireale, with whom they have always been in a rivalry, they say tyey are “teste di trunzu” (cabbage heads).

That indicates their stubbornness, their being hard-headed like the trunzu cabbage that grows on their territory. Besides the rivalry, anyway, the Trunzu di Aci is delicious and we recommend you try it in one of its many versions, if you find yourself in Acireale for a few days, or a few hours.

What is the Trunzu di Aci

A Trunzu is actually what you all know as cabbage-turnip, a smaller vegetable than normal cabbage and with very long branches and broad leaves.

Unlike normal cabbage-turnips, the one that grows on the territory of Acireale assumes a purple colour due to the properties of the volcanic soil. It grows in abundance on the slopes of the “Timpa”, the promontory overlooking the Ionian sea on which the city is set.

Acireale trunzu cabbageWhether you eat it raw or cooked, the Trunzu has beneficial properties recognized and appreciated by the food industry and by the slow food trade mark: detoxifying, anticancer protection, supporting the immune system thanks to vitamin C. It can be harvested between May and June or between October and November.

How can you taste it?

The best way to fully enjoy the flavor of this vegetable is to eat it raw, finely chopped and seasoned like a salad – oil, vinegar, salt, a pinch of pepper. Excellent to accompany pork meat-based recipes.

The inhabitants of Acireale, however, like to eat it also boiled as a condiment for pasta. Try it  also  in the form of a stew. Recently, the local gastronomy has also included it in the delicious diner: the trunzu flavoured arancino is really a must of local gastronomy, not to be missed!

A festival, a myth, a devotion

The Festival of the Trunzu di Aci has been held for some years now in Acireale. It  usually takes place in July, an important month for the city because it celebrates the local patron saint, Saint Venera. If you find yourself in Acireale in July, stop as much as possible: the first weekend you can taste the trunzu during the famous festival, on Sundays of the month you will attend the summer carnival or other street shows.

On 26th  July the solemn procession of the town saint, Saint Venera, and the beautiful baroque festival connected to it takes place. Acireale is also the city of the Ovidian myth of Acis and Galathea, the two unfortunate lovers divided by the cyclop Poliphemus  and reunited – in the form of  river and sea waters – by Zeus. You can admire the statue of the lovers from the central avenue of the Belvedere town park. (photos by: Grazia Musumeci – top- and Lasiciliainrete)


The author: Grazia Musumeci